Education in Oakland

Articulate Americans

Posted by novometro on February 1, 2007

When used as an adjective by a white person, the word articulate is almost always applied to a minority- usually someone black – who sounds white.

Senator Joe Biden used it Wednesday in his spectacularly stupid assessment of Barack Obama. The senator from Delaware said this to the New York Observer on his first day as an official contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008: “[Barack Obama is] the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

As Mr. Obama noted in his second response to his colleagues statement, no one would call Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson inarticulate.

I noticed the word again in an interesting article in the Oakland Tribune about a white family’s decision to enroll their child in the neighborhood school, which is 42 percent black. After months of agonizing, the mother decided the local elementary would be just fine following a meeting with other parents. “These people were really articulate and smart,” the mother said.

The article touched on the fact that race and class figured prominently in the talk about schools in Oakland. But the task of expressing fears about ghettofication (ghetto as an adjective is itself a paper-thin euphemism for black employed by all races) was left to a black parent. “There’s no way in the world my son is going to go to middle school or high school in Oakland,” said Taneshia Roosevelt, who attended a private school fair last fall with her son Omarriyah. “I just see how these kids are out here, and I don’t want my son to be that way.

Articulately said.

(check out NovoMetro)


One Response to “Articulate Americans”

  1. jaded said

    If I had a dollar everytime someone said I sound “articulate” or “proper” I’d be able to afford a condo in SOMA. Give it a rest America…..Using “proper” English and being a minority is not an oxymoron. Get over it…or I’l have to comment everytime I hear a white person use a big word.

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